STATS: Chiefs on the verge of history & other Caf semifinals

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Kaizer Chiefs host Wydad Athletic Club of Casablanca this Saturday looking to seal a place in the 2021 Caf Champions League final.

Having endured their toughest season in recent memory, Amakhosi now find themselves 90 minutes away from a historic moment in their history.

The only remaining team without a Caf Champions League title. The Glamour Boys have put themselves in a strong position to make the final by winning the 1st leg 1-0 away from home, thanks to Serbian Samir Nurkovic’s VAR assisted goal.

This was the 10th different occasion where a PSL side faced a Moroccan side away from home in the competition.

1 – Chiefs became the first PSL side to win a Champions League game away to Moroccan opposition, with two draws and seven defeats suffered by PSL sides before then.

Moreover, Chiefs became the first team to visit Wydad and come out victorious this year.

The Reds had won 12 and drawn 3 of their 15 home games across all competitions in 2021.

Whichever way you look at it, this was an impressive result.

It was a special win for Chiefs co-caretaker coach Arthur Zwane. He was an Orlando Pirates player the first time a PSL side played an away game in Morocco – a 1-0 loss to Raja Casablanca in September 1997. 24 years later, he was the coach overseeing the first match a PSL side won away in Morocco.

That said, he won’t be happy with that type of record if Chiefs go on to lose the second leg, especially when you consider the visitors’ record in the country.

0 – Wydad are winless in five visits to South Africa, drawing two and losing three matches to Sundowns and Chiefs in recent years.

But will that mean anything? Zwane, Sheppard and co. will be the first to remind you that Wydad top the Moroccan Premier League.

Not only that, Wydad have reached the semi-finals in four of the five seasons since the knockout stage expanded from four to eight teams, a record they share only with Al Ahly.

They have also summoned the wherewithal to progress to the final in two of the previous three occasions, including in the 2018/19 season against Sundowns.

They need goals to stay in this one however. The Nurkovic goal they conceded means the Moroccans must score at least one away goal, which already sets out an intriguing clash.

Their struggles in front of goal away from home are evident, scoring one open play goal (and one penalty) in 450 minutes on the road in the competition. On the other hand, the Chiefs defence has been rock solid at home.

No team has managed to score away to Chiefs in the entire tournament, which presents yet another challenge for the visitors.

2011 – The last African team to go all the way to the Champions League final without conceding a goal at home was Esperance of Tunisia in 2011. Chiefs could be the first in a decade.

If resting the majority of the first team on the weekend doesn’t indicate how important this fixture is to Wydad, at least the win-bonuses offered to their team during the week should.

Chiefs may have finished a lowly 8th in their domestic league, but the size of the Moroccans task can’t be understated.

0 – Since the two-legged semis were introduced in 2001, no team has overcome a 1st leg home deficit to reach the Caf Champions League final. The task is massive.

Other semi – Al Ahly v Esperance

Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly will host Esperance in the other semi-final, looking to build on their own 1-0 away victory from the first leg.

The Egyptians have progressed to the finals in their last five semi-final appearances. They will also reach a record 14th Caf Champions League
final if they progress this weekend.

1 – The last team to knock Ah Ahly out at the semi-final stage of this competition were Esperance in 2010.

By Opta Jabu

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